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Preserving People, Places And Pigs

The pigs are gone; the goats and chickens are no more as well. We had gotten accustomed to seeing the farm animals in their enclosure just off the road on short GC&P. We would pass their homestead many times a week on our way to and from our own country home.

We would often marvel at the size of the pigs, noting how they had grown since last year. They had increased in size to the point of their bellies nearly dragging the ground. They enjoyed a good mud puddle and a rare, cool summer day in the grass.

The goats provided some entertainment as they climbed atop boxes or milled around the yard, chewing at whatever was growing there.

But one day not so long ago, they were all gone. Perhaps it was time for their owners to get out of the livestock business or the family simply moved to new quarters. Whatever the case, we wish them and their animals well and thank them for providing us with a daily look at their menagerie.

Those animals reminded me of the pony that once lived solitarily just off Waddles Run Road, now known as Wardens Run Road. The pony lived a free-spirited life on the farm property that currently houses Nicky’s Garden Center. There were no people living on the property, just the pony.

I recall a story about a couple of wiseacre boys who thought they would sneak onto the property and climb on the pony. They were in for a big surprise when that cute little equine took after them kicking and biting. Needless to say, there was no riding the pony. They were lucky to escape unscathed.

I don’t know who owned the pony, but I kind of felt sorry for it being alone. Later I realized the animal had a pretty good life living without being tied up or locked in a stall all day. One day, the pony also disappeared.

The older I get, the more I have come to appreciate the places and things that have endured the test of time. Sure there have been many buildings that have been brought to the ground to make way for development, but there are quite a few more that have proven the builders of yesteryear knew what they were doing.

Wheeling Island, downtown, North, South and East Wheeling all contain structures that are both beautiful for their craftsmanship and durability in their continued usage. Many neighborhoods, such as Woodsdale and out-the-pike, have managed to keep so many of the city’s historic buildings alive with people and purpose. Look at Elmhurst and Oglebay Institute and think about how people used to live in those buildings that now serve many more in different ways.

The Osiris Shrine in Elm Grove reeks of history and continues to echo with laughter and good times, much like it did when Lydia Boggs Shepherd Cruger hosted dignitaries until her death at age 101 in 1867.

Whether it’s a mansion built hundreds of years ago or a couple of oversized pigs, I’ve learned it’s best not to take either for granted.

Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at hziegler@theintelligencer.net.

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